Monday, November 10, 2008
Subtle UI Bias

There is a challenge within the Mac community to innovate within the field of UI design. Hidden cultural biases about what is 'good' or 'Mac-like' keep developers marching along the straight and narrow.

DotMatrix is a bit of an oddball among graphics applications. And it borders on being not "Mac-like". We know that, but we're holding a vision of a new kind of graphics tool: something that opens up creative possibilities for people who previously may have shied away from making art.

And we also wanted to avoid dropping down into bad design cliche or reams of pre-designed templates that held little possibility for real customization.

So the choices we made with respect to how DotMatrix is organized around bookmarks, color customization and an over-abundance of sliders (as opposed to other kinds of UI elements) -- well, let's just say there is a method to this madness.

The little square "grabby handles" that 99% of all graphics programs "expose" to their users as the primary means of interacting with the canvas are for many kinds of people, intractable. This includes people with poor hand-eye coordination, people who are disinclined to pursue traditional art such as drawing and painting and people with physical handicaps.

So in DotMatrix we restrict the user interactions to two primary modes: button clicking and slider-dragging. Our palette of pre-designed templates are merely convenient jumping-off points for exploring the programmability of DotMatrix.

The aim of DotMatrix is to get people out of the thinking/analyzing mode of consciousness and into the exploration/experimentation mindset. The combination of the template selection and the live camera feedback make it possible, we think, for non-artists to approach the creation of fine art for the first time.

By fine art I mean the creation of art which could possibly hang in a gallery.

Both Andy Warhol and Victor Vasarely held a belief that "art was for everyone". Because, within the fine art world there is a cyclical tendency toward elitism. Both Vasarely and Warhol worked to break that down.

In making DotMatrix our goal is to provide the user with an alternative means for the creation of fine art. One that is approachable by the non-artists of the world. By people who might have avoided art classes or considered themselves "bad at drawing". Or even bad at photography.

Because with the masking, posterization and access to geometric patterns of shapes, the actual underlying photograph that drives a DotMatrix design is of secondary importance. You can start with a found image grabbed from a web page or youtube (use GrabberRaster).

Sample and remix the visual world. And use DotMatrix if you find it handy.

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By : Mr.Black Subtle UI Bias 1 comments



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